By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota Twin beloved as much as Harmon, Kirby and Torii has played his last game.

Joe Mauer officially announced he’s retiring. He might go down as one of the greatest catchers in baseball — and certainly the best catcher to ever play for the Twins.

His official announcement will come in the form of a full-page ad in the Star Tribune newspaper Sunday.

RELATED: A Look Back At Joe Mauer’s 15 Seasons With The Twins

The news does not come as a shock to most Minnesota Twins fans, as it would have been a much bigger shock if the 35-year-old St. Paulite had decided to return to the game — particularly in his final game. It played out like a fairy tale ending, with Mauer helping his team win a game, further solidifying what was already in place in Minnesota.

In some respects, Mauer was a comet, suddenly surfacing at Cretin-Derham Hall High School, where his legend started. He was the ultimate three-sport athlete.

“Basketball, football, baseball. He’s a great player. I saw him play at the Metrodome his senior season,” said fan Steven Froemming.

He was the number-one pick for the Minnesota Twins fresh out of Cretin in 2001. Mauer played his entire 15-season career with the Twins, winning the American League MVP award in 2009.

He also made six All-Star appearances and won three Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, and he earned the AL batting champion three times — the only catcher to do so in MLB history.

“He’s a legend. He’s a legend for our community, and he’s just been a good example for our youth as well,” said fan Andrew Fisher.

A letter from Mauer to his fans was posted Friday on Major League Baseball’s official website.

“I will always be grateful to the Twins and to the fans for their love and support all these years,” Mauer said. “I walked into the clubhouse every day with pride and never once took for granted the opportunity to put on that uniform. I never wavered that playing for this team was exactly where I wanted to be.”

When they write the book on Mauer, it will be filed with chapters that changed the way people were allowed to think about Minnesota athletes. He will now move on to a life as a retired legend who has set an example that will be difficult to follow.

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